Editorials: The real purpose of Russia’s presidential election | Stephen Blank/The Interpreter

Vladimir Putin’s election to a fourth term as President of Russia on 18 March is a foregone conclusion. Nobody can remotely consider Russia’s presidential election to be democratic, whatever Putin and his defenders might say. Seeing as it is obviously a sham and a travesty, one might ask why bother to hold an election at all? This is because in Putin’s Russia, the outcome of an election is not nearly as important as the conditions under which it occurs. Russian elections are really ritualised forms of political participation directed towards creating the illusion of a sustaining and legitimating mass basis of support for the regime. Thus Putin is very intent on not only winning 70% of the votes cast – since directives to regional bosses to arrange this figure were sent out long ago – but also on obtaining a turnout of more than 70% of eligible voters. By achieving this 70–70 formula, Putin and the regime can pretend to fulfil the electoral ritual and furnish it with the illusion of legitimacy.

Full Article: The real purpose of Russia’s presidential election.

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